SE Asia Stocks-Most down; Philippine shares retreat on profit-taking
HANOI, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets declined by midday on Tuesday, led by the Philippine benchmark that retreated from a 15-month high on profit-taking. The Philippine SE Composite Index dropped 0.8 percent as investors took profits after a 4.4-percent rise over the past six sessions and amid market expectations of monetary tightening. The Philippine central bank is likely to tighten policy for a fifth straight meeting to rein in inflation, a Reuters poll showed, but views are divided on which tools it will use. "Local rates are expected to be raised by 25 bps, but mostly to offset inflation," said Manny Cruz, a Philippines-based strategist at Asiasec Equities, adding that the move is not necessarily negative to the stock market. Property firm Ayala Land led the decline, falling 2.89 percent from a more than 15-month high hit in the previous session. "We expect profit-taking in Ayala shares to continue until next week," Cruz said. The Philippines is now the region's second-best performer, while its price-to-earnings is Southeast Asia's highest at 21.55, compared with 14.02 of Singapore, the lowest. The city-state's FTSE Straits Times Index outperformed the broader market with a 0.31 percent advance, lifted mostly by banking stocks. Singapore, which is lagging behind the region's rising trend, is expected to pick up soon due to the favourable conditions of a low interest rate and positive outlook, said a Singapore-based trader with DBS Vickers Securities. All markets except Singapore and Malaysia have posted yields to date of more than 20 percent, Reuters data showed. Indonesia's Jakarta SE Composite Index lost 0.71 percent amid expectations of potentially higher fuel prices after a cut in subsidies. But Indonesian shares have received net inflows from foreigners for four straight sessions, lifting the index to a record high close for the second time in a month. Vietnam's benchmark VN Index tumbled 2.2 percent on profit-taking after gains that lifted the index past a high of more than five years. Malaysia and Thailand were almost flat. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0718 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 445.83 448.93 -0.69 Singapore 3345.64 3335.19 +0.31 Kuala Lumpur 1872.09 1871.09 +0.05 Bangkok 1583.44 1584.77 -0.08 Jakarta 5209.35 5246.48 -0.71 Manila 7256.50 7314.94 -0.80 Ho Chi Minh 625.77 639.85 -2.20 * The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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